There are a lot of ways you can write a settlement demand letter and some demands are by DVD instead of just a letter. One format I’ve followed for a demand letter in a typical personal injury case is to outline what I think the carrier wants to know. I supplement this letter with documentation. The more paper you send the more likely to settle, at least in the less major cases. I usually enclose a copy of the letter with a statement that the copy is provided so they can send this to their client. I want to pressure the ethical obligation of advising clients of settlement offers as in some cases defense counsel just don’t do it.

Here’s my basic outline:

1.  Introduction to letter

There is an introductory paragraph indicating the purpose of the letter and outlining any conditions of settlement such as not agreeing to confidentiality.

2.  Facts of Negligence

Here I insert an outline of the facts. I reference attached police reports, photos, statements and other documentation I am providing. I cite applicable law and outline our claims of negligence. I discuss contributory negligence as well.

3.  Client Background

I provide a history of the clients that is relevant. That would include vital statistics, marital, occupation and the like. I list children and ages and otherwise paint a family history plus the specifics regarding the client.

4.  The Injuries

Here I describe the pre health condition of the client and the injuries received with the impact on the precondition. I attach documentation of medical informaton including hospital information, doctor etc. I usually attach a photo of the client and family.

5.  The Bills

Here I list  the economic loss. The past bills, wage loss and the future as well. I provide documentation of the bills plus economist report and ot her documents to support the economic claim.

6.  Evaluation

In this section I make an evaluation of the case considering the liability, the injuries, the bills and the non-economic loss. I outline the applicable law that applies to the damage case. I make a specific demand for a dollar settlement.

7.  Conclusion

In the final paragraph I advise how long the offer will remain open and discuss any other aspect of the case that should be clarified.

About Paul Luvera

Plaintiff trial lawyer for 50 years. Past President of the Inner Circle of Advocates & Washington State Trial Lawyers Association. Member American Board of Trial Advocates, American College of Trial Lawyers, International Academy, International Society of Barristers, member of the National Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame & speaker at Spence Trial College
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